Aged Cachaça – Leblon Reserva Especial

Last week I wrote about the Cedilla – and excellent acai liqueur from the house of Leblon and now it´s time to present their new aged cachaça as well – Maison Leblon Reserva Especial – a special limited aged cachaça that were recently introduced in Brazil.

Leblon Cachaça recently won the best cachaça and double gold award at the 2012 San Francisco Global Spirits Competition with their Leblon cachaça and the new Reserva Especial.

Cachaça has a more earthy taste compared to the more “grassy” rhum agricole – and both are delicious – I really enjoy mixing with them. The aged cachaça is more mellow than the white unaged and Leblon Reserva is aged in new Limousin French oak for two years and then blended by Gilles Merlet. Like Leblon, it is single batch distilled in alambique potstills.

It has a complex smooth taste with notes of honey, sugarcane and something woody/nutty with a slight and pleasant “buttery” aftertaste. The nose is sweet and reminds me of sugar, earth and dulce de leche.

The bottle is strikingly elegant with a thin slender shape and engraved handwriting on the glass and it contains 375 ml and is 42% ABV.

I found this interesting drink to try:

São Conrado created by Canvas bar team, Brisbane

1.5 oz Leblon Cachaça
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
1.0 oz fresh pineapple juice
1.0 oz spiced pineapple syrup
.25 oz dark rum to float
Mint sprig to garnish

In a Cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients except the rum and mint with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a large rocks glass fill with cubed ice, then add a ‘cap’ of crushed ice. Float dark rum on the surface of the drink, and garnish with a mint sprig.

As for spiced pineapple syrup – it`s not stated in the recipe what spices used in the syrup but since cinnamon goes well with pineapple i added some cinnamon to the batch.

So you make a simple syrup (1.1 water plus sugar) and add a few pineapple chunks, 2 crushed (ceylon) cinnamon sticks and boil up lightly and then set to cool for a couple hours for flavors to marry.

This cocktail was nice and a bit on the sour side, quite complex too – aged cachaça meets spiced pineapple syrup!

I never drink just one cocktail so after the São Conrado I made a drink I call Leblon Beach:

Leblon Beach

2 oz Leblon Reserva
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
5-6 pineapple chunks
0.25 oz sugarcane syrup
0.25 oz liquid honey

Muddle pineapple chunks and honey, add the rest of ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish with a raw-sugar rim, pineapple slice and cherry – or if you want it to look like it does in the picture – a dried pineapple slice and cherry.

And that is very simple to make, I just sliced out a piece of the pineapple very very thin and placed it in the oven at 225 F ( 110 C) to dry for about 15-20 min or until the edges became partly browned.

This cocktail was very nice and refreshing due to the earthiness of the cachaça and the freshness of lime and pineapple.

Maison Leblon Reserva Especial is currently available only in Brazil, and will be introduced shortly in limited editions to select markets outside of Brazil.

So keep an eye out for it.

6 Replies to “Aged Cachaça – Leblon Reserva Especial”

  1. Thanks for the comments everybody!

    Steve – It was a pleasure to try it,

    Marcel – I have yet to try that combo.

    Josh – Thank you!

    Dominik you`re always very insigtful and give me things to ponder…keep it up!

    Tony – i`d love to try Armazem Vieira…if u ever get a chance to bring it to New Orleans please bring it! lol

  2. Havent seen it here yet… well Leblon is not easy to find here in Minas and it usually retails pretty high compared to many great brands.

    Love the pineapple garnish! Looks like a flame! Cool..
    Dominik, yeah Armazem Vieira is quite a peculiar product. It´s quite unlike other cachaças in a way that´s hard to describe.

  3. Nice post.

    I am a bit critical about cachaças aged in oak. Because the distinctiveness get lost a bit. Oak brings all spirits into the same direction. Distillates with a strong personality [like tequila – which is also relatively short aged] still have their own rights – but given that cachaça is anyway conceptional close to rhum agricole [from the character they are both quite different] – I rather prefer producers, who stick to the traditions and use domestic wood. These products are usually much lighter and support the vegetal notes of the distillate – I had some fantastic drams of those.

    I am also more than critical about the diverse spirit challenges, which not only charge a substantial fee to the companies [small artisan companies are usually not able to compete], which are partaking, but also give numerous double gold medals, gold medals silver medals etc.
    Other than the first notion, to be independent – these competition are already quite an industry – and deceive customers.

    And – I am not a big fan of using dark rum with cachaça – as this is diluting the character of cachaça. Dark rum has an even more pronounced molasses character – which is obvious taking the “credibility” of the Brazilian distillate.

    Have you tried Armazem Vieira cachaças? Very authentic [aged in diverse Brazilian rainforest woods], fantastic products!

  4. Do you know what really goes wel with pineapple? One of my favorite combination. Pineapple and terragon.

  5. thx for the review Tiare!

    the packaging was designed by Helen, who manages the cellar and the lab at the Maison Leblon in Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais. on the side, Helen is a fine artist. for guests who visit the Distillery, she hand-writes a personal label for them after they fill up their own cask strength bottle from the potstills. her calligraphy is so beautiful and unique, so we asked her to do the design for Reserva Especial. pretty cool. obrigado Helen!

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